June 15, 1995
3801 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20008-4530
c/o Lori Jonas Public Relations
417 South Beverly Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90212-4401
Dear Mr. Seinfeld:
If you want to do two more seasons, who is Larry David to say no? Who is he to play God?
Let's say you do only one more season. Listen, word is they're thinking of doing a comedy version of Ellen. So, you do one more season, but this Ellen thing really catches on, then what happens to the Seinfeld legacy? You owe it to the world to leave a body of work. A huge body--the biggest possible body of work you can possibly leave, for posterity. Remember, there's only one Seinfeld: after Seinfeld it's fucking oblivion, man.
By the way, if you have hankering to talk to Malcolm, you better catch him before the indictments are handed down. The Feds are on his tail, and it isn't pretty No faxes or modems in Leavenworth
Jerry, you know the difference between you and Malcolm? You drive the Nazi cars. Malcolm let the Nazis take him for a ride. If you gotta ride with a pack of Nazis, it's best to hold on to that driver's seat: Mal's been out of Brooklyn way too long.
People are saying my letters aren't as funny as they used to be . . .
Just beneath the surface humor of this letter there lurk apparent unconscious signs of survivor guilt. The idea that Jerry Seinfeld has a duty to leave a body of work to posterity -- the seeming idea that Seinfeld is unique and a show of its value will never be seen again -- suggests issues of survivorship. The composer Gustav Mahler felt this burden heavily as a creative artist. He sensed that he was the last in a line of Austro-German symphonic composers dating back to Haydn and Mozart in the late eighteenth century. Mahler wanted to leave the world a legacy befitting a more than century-old tradition of symphonic music: a tradition that was on the verge of oblivion.
Remotely, I am reminded of the story of Isaac, the designated survivor, as described by Anna Deveare Smith in Fires in the Mirror, which I had seen broadcast on public television in April 1993, two years earlier. See 6:00 on th YouTube video: